Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Faint Ghost of Thursdays Past

That echo of halcyon bygone days must be the Thursday Three, reasonably to be expected to return for the first time in more than two years. El Possumo Grande has not-blogged a not-Thursday Baker's three:

1. What one person are you most thankful for this year?

Other than, of course, my wonderfully perfect and well behaved family, I'm probably most thankful for the new VP around here, whose complete and utter disregard for "how we do things around here" got me out of a bad work situation into a much, much better situation.

2. What one thing are you most thankful for this year?

This is going to be very work-centric, but probably the new media management system we're installing. It's given me a tool to learn, and an opportunity to demonstrate both expertise and leadership on an initiative that I think will dramatically change this organization. It's totally change my attitude towards my job - I'm interested in it again.

3. What one event are you most thankful for this year?

To round it out, I'll stick with work. The social media conference I went to in July was directly responsible for my shift to my new job.

BONUS: 4. So, how’s it going? How’ve you been lately?
Still trying to shake the various ailments - lingering cough, etc. Busy as can be, but mentally a lot closer to stable since the change.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remember when

George Bush got all that grief for calling himself "the decider"? I'll take that any day over our current "agonizer":

Obama Won't Take Any Current War Options, Official Says

I'm sorry - you get elected president in order to make decisions. That's why it's called the chief executive - you execute things (not generally people - that's usually for governors).

I understand that Democrats and liberals are focused on domestic issues rather than foreign policy, which is why he can decide to ram a poorly conceived healthcare plan down the throats of an electorate that doesn't really want it.

But c'mon, man, just make up your mind on Afghanistan for cryin' out loud! The president is refusing to make a call because he doesn't want to take responsibility, and unfortunately for him and the rest of us, that's what the job is all about. Go ahead - refuse to provide more troops if that's what you want. Or send the troops your commanders have asked for. Just quit screwing around and make up your mind, willya?

Gimme the decider over the Agonizer in Chief any day.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This is wrong

on so, so many levels:

Santa Dreidel

I understand there are many intermarried people, but the whole point of the Chanukah story was the defeat of another faith (OK, pagans, but you get the point) by the Jews who refused to surrender their God.

I guess hip kitsch offends me when they start messing with my faith.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Something occurred to me

while reading this post:

Columbia University Graduate School of The Internet

Now, the post itself I think is very much on target about the need to train journalists properly for the brave new world of the internets. And while I suspect I know Mr. Rosenblum's political leanings, I don't know them for certain and they're tangential to my issue.

He says:

The school was founded by a rogue businessman, Joseph Pulitzer. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day. He tried to expurgate his many sins by building the school. Instead, he compounded them. He succeeded in creating a factory for ‘good employees’, but he infantalized an entire industry.

The graduates of the school long to be good employees - to work for The New York Times or The Washington Post or NBC News or CNN...

The report on the Future of American Journalism was written by two lifetime employees. Leonard Downie Jr., spent a lifetime at The Washington Post, as an employee. He rose to be Executive Editor but he still got that weekly paycheck. Michael Schudson is a lifetime academic. He also has spent his life getting that printed paycheck every week.

Nice guys though they are, they are hardly the right people to ask to figure out the future of journalism. What they have been bred to do for a lifetime is to figure out where the next paycheck is going to come from. And that is what they came up with in their report. Pretty much devoid of any other ideas, they came up with ‘ask the goverment or some foundations to write more checks’.

I don't have an argument with his primary point, but I am wondering about this disdain for people collecting paychecks. This is not the first time I'm seeing this around - there was an episode of Miami Ink a while back with a young woman (flat out gorgeous, by the way) getting a tattoo of a robot to symbolize her father's "enslavement to corporate America". She was determined to avoid ever working a "real job." There are other examples.

What's bothering me is this idea that there's something wrong with going to a "regular job" and collecting a paycheck. Perhaps the world does need Joseph Pulitzers and Bill Paleys, but we can't all be at that level. None of the big time movers would ever have gotten anywhere without the paycheck collecting shmoes working for them. That's not exactly what journalism (or any field, except maybe Hollywood) needs - everybody's a CEO, nobody does the grunt work?

This bothers me more coming from liberals (as I suspect Mr. Rosenblum is) only because they pride themselves on their support for the working people of this nation. But sneering at people who collect paychecks is not terribly supportive. Would I like to be a chief instead of an Indian (scusi - Native American non-leadership voluntary tribal participant)? Sure, but I don't have the ideas and I don't really want to work that hard. I've chosen to prioritize family and personal life over the commitment to work that being a chief requires.

This is not just liberals, by the way, though I think it's more common there. It's a curse of the elite and the hyper-driven to think there's failure in the ordinary. Not necessarily a bad thing - great advances in every aspect of life require the kinds of people who won't settle for the ordinary. But it's awfully arrogant to sit back and write off the paycheck takers as failures. A lot of us do things that allow the hyper types to do what they do in comfort, safety, and freedom.